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Wordswarms From Years Past

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Wai Wu Pu
Waialeale, Mount

Waif definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

WAIF, n. Goods found, of which the owner is not known. These were originally such goods as a thief, when pursued, threw away to prevent being apprehended. They belong to the king, unless the owner makes fresh suit of the felon, takes him and brings him to justice.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: a homeless child especially one forsaken or orphaned; "street children beg or steal in order to survive" [syn: waif, street child]

Merriam Webster's

I. noun Etymology: Middle English weif, waif, from Anglo-French, from waif, adjective, stray, unclaimed, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse veif something flapping, veifa to be in movement more at wipe Date: 14th century 1. a. a piece of property found (as washed up by the sea) but unclaimed b. plural stolen goods thrown away by a thief in flight 2. a. something found without an owner and especially by chance b. a stray person or animal; especially a homeless child waifish adjective waiflike adjective II. noun Etymology: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse veif something flapping Date: 1530 waft 4

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. 1 a homeless and helpless person, esp. an abandoned child. 2 an ownerless object or animal, a thing cast up by or drifting in the sea or brought by an unknown agency. Phrases and idioms: waifs and strays 1 homeless or neglected children. 2 odds and ends. Derivatives: waifish adj. Etymology: ME f. AF waif, weif, ONF gaif, prob. of Scand. orig.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Waif Waif, n. [OF. waif, gaif, as adj., lost, unclaimed, chose gaive a waif, LL. wayfium, res vaivae; of Scand. origin. See Waive.] 1. (Eng. Law.) Goods found of which the owner is not known; originally, such goods as a pursued thief threw away to prevent being apprehended, which belonged to the king unless the owner made pursuit of the felon, took him, and brought him to justice. --Blackstone. 2. Hence, anything found, or without an owner; that which comes along, as it were, by chance. ``Rolling in his mind old waifs of rhyme.'' --Tennyson. 3. A wanderer; a castaway; a stray; a homeless child. A waif Desirous to return, and not received. --Cowper.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(waifs) If you refer to a child or young woman as a waif, you mean that they are very thin and look as if they have nowhere to live. ...a dirty-faced waif of some five or six years... N-COUNT

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

n. Estray.

Moby Thesaurus

Arab, beach bum, beachcomber, beggar, bo, bum, bummer, castaway, castoff, derelict, discard, dogie, flotsam, flotsam and jetsam, foundling, gamin, gamine, guttersnipe, hobo, homeless waif, idler, jetsam, junk, lagan, landloper, lazzarone, loafer, losel, mudlark, orphan, piker, ragamuffin, ragman, ragpicker, refuse, reject, rounder, rubbish, ski bum, stiff, stray, street Arab, street urchin, sundowner, surf bum, swagman, swagsman, tatterdemalion, tennis bum, tramp, trash, turnpiker, urchin, vag, vagabond, vagrant, waifs and strays, wastrel

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